Burger King Corp. has announced that C. Ronald Petty, president and chief operating officer of Burger King U.S.A., is leaving the worldwide fast-food chain after 12 years.
Petty, who returned from Burger King's international division to run the domestic side of the corporation just before Burger King was taken over by Grand Metropolitan in January, 1989, decided only recently to leave the firm, said Barry J. Gibbons, chief executive of Burger King Corp.
"We both decided we would get right down to the urgent tasks at hand (after the acquisition) and take a year or so to decide whether we wanted to work together long term," Gibbons said in a statement Tuesday.
"We have had that review and decided to change. I would like to pay open tribute to Ron for his contribution to Burger King over the years, and in particular to our progress over the last 12 months," he said.
Gibbons will assume the responsibilities of chief operating officer for the U.S. division pending a further announcement, said Cori Zywotow, a spokeswoman at Burger King's Miami headquarters.
Petty's departure was unrelated to a lawsuit announced Thursday by Labor Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole accusing Burger King of violating child labor laws by assigning workers under 16 to late-night shifts and too many hours, she said.
"It was not related. Their shared decision was made prior to the Dole announcement," Zywotow said.
Burger King and its franchisees operate more than 6,000 restaurants in 34 countries worldwide. In fiscal year 1989, the company had systemwide sales of $5.7 billion.
Grand Metropolitan is one of the United Kingdom's largest international companies and a world leader in the food, drink and retailing businesses.